We left our hotel at the Sea of Galilee and headed South towards the dead sea, along the Jordan Riv
Beit Shean is located on the drive down the Jordan River from Galilee to Jerusalem. It was quite a large city, originally held by the Egyptians. The Philistines moved here to stop the spread of the Israelites, and when Saul killed himself, his body was hung on the city walls. In 64 B. C. the Romans established this as one of the 10 Decapolis cities. It became very Pagan. The Romans built a temple on the mound, a theater, prostitution houses, public baths, and a gymnasium. In 749, a large earthquake destroyed the city.
The West Bank
We drove through the West Bank on the way to the Dead Sea. Area A is a self-ruling area in which no Jews are allowed. If a state of Palestine is created, this will be part of it.
In our brief stop in Jericho we visited the Mount of Temptation where Jesus was supposedly tempted. We saw a large sycamore tree, and we overlooked Tel Jericho slightly.
Qumran is close to the Dead Sea. A Bedouin boy was looking for a lost goat, throwing rocks in caves to see if the goat was in it. There was no goat, but he heard a crash. He investigated and found a lot of leather. He took some home, and his mom was going to make a pair of Sandals out of it for him. Before she could, someone else took a look at them and noticed they were more than just generic leather…When the caves were all opened, there were parts of all the books of the OT except Esther, in which is no mention of God. Essennes here copied the scriptures. John the Baptist possibly came in contact with the Essennes here in his wilderness travels. They dressed in white, lived communally, set apart, and washed often in Mikvahs, or ritual baths. There was found at Qumran ink wells, and a long bench on which scripture was copied.
At Ein Gedi is a tree called “Sodom’s Apple.” One bite of the fruit of this tree will kill you in minutes. David hid from Saul here. There is a Hebrew inscription on the floor of the synagogue where the genealogy of the Bible is given. There was also a hidden formula of a secret perfume famous to the area.
The Dead Sea is definitely low. There are current plans to fill it back up by bringing water from the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea (Eliat). If this is done, it would be the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 4:7 prophecy.